Never heard of it!

Slow + Nomad


See what I did there?

What’s a “Slowmad” exactly? The term comes from combining “slow” and “nomad”. (The word “nomad,” coincidentally, is an anagram of my surname Doman.)

Slow travel is the opposite of being a typical tourist. Instead of staying in a large famous city for two nights with a packed itinerary and then moving on to the next city or country, slowmads will park their butts in the same place for weeks or even months.

You can’t really blame people for wanting to cram as much sightseeing in as possible. I mean, most North Americans have only two or three weeks vacation a year and will take an overseas trip maybe once a decade or so, depending on funds. It’s expensive to travel this way. And I get it, you want to maximize your limited time.

But here’s the problem with packed itineraries: By trying to see everything, you really see nothing. The days end up blurring together. You may very well have a phone full of photos of your family posing in front of famous landmarks. But did you stop for even a minute to put down the phone, breathe deeply and absorb the sight in front of you? Or were you feeling pressured to move along, catch that bus, stay with the tour led by a guide holding a flag / umbrella / pop bottle on a stick?


What differentiates it from regular summer vacation travel?

You can absorb the local culture, get to know some local shopkeepers (become a “regular” if you will), discover where to dine out where the locals go (which saves money and is more authentic), have adventures on local transit (which also saves money), and support the local economy in general. You might have conversations with some locals which could turn into a dinner invitation. The connections become deeper when you have more time on your hands.


You’re crazy! Who has that kind of time?

People who work remotely, self-employed people with a passive income and those with retirement income (pensions and investments) are in the best position to live this lifestyle. Unfortunately on-location 9-5 jobs are not conducive to this type of travel, but you could arrange a sabbatical with your employer if they are open to it. Take a year off! Try it on for size.


Yeah, yeah, I know this is your first question. But I made you wait.

It’s actually much more affordable than moving location every few days, eating out in tourist restaurants and staying in hotels charging a high nightly rate. In fact, it’s actually more affordable than living in my hometown of Victoria, BC and working full-time.

You can save loads of money by:

  • booking accommodation at a monthly rate. Booking long-term offers massive discounts (sometimes as much as 66% off). There is also the option of house sitting which is free or even pays you!
  • cooking your own meals if you have a kitchen (AirBnB is good for this)
  • eating out at cheap local eateries off the tourist track (you’ll now have time to discover these places)
  • using local transport
  • using global e-sim data plans instead of roaming with your carrier
  • avoiding frequent and expensive long-haul flights (a two week vacation involves two long haul flights – there and back. A one year slowmad trip could also, if planned well, involve just two long haul flights)


My monthly expenses

Before I share my budget, keep in mind that I use public transport, stay in 2-star hotels, and eat in local restaurants. I generally travel in affordable to medium-affordable countries and avoid expensive cities. However; I do have my limits. I don’t stay in youth hostels unless I can have my own room. I’m 54 years old — my days of sharing a room with strangers are over.

So — drumroll please — here’s my budget: $2,300/mo. It was originally $2,000 but I’m giving myself a little buffer for now until I find my rhythm. I am semi-retired with a small pension and investment income from retirement savings. I also have some passive income streams including online teaching and art sales.

Here’s a rough breakdown of my monthly costs. Some notes:

  • I am using Turkey for this sample “medium-affordable” destination.
  • October is the sample month. (Shoulder season)
  • Staying a month in each accommodation (perhaps off the beaten path).
  • I have averaged out the daily cost of one long haul flight home per year.
  • I eat out, shop locally and cook some meals in the kitchen.
  • Prices are per person, travelling as a couple.
Expense Cost in CAD
Accommodation $600
Food $600
Transportation $300
Mobile plan(s) $40
Subscriptions to online tools $100
Medical and travel insurance $100
Misc $200
Total $1,940

Time = Money

It’s actually true!

So as you can see from the table above, time is literally money. If you have no apartment or house to support “back home” you’ll save on obvious things like rent & mortgage payments, but you’ll also avoid paying for internet, heat & hot water, streaming services, parking, car insurance, gas and other household expenses. Canadian internet & cell plans are some of the most expensive in the world. Use a global e-sim instead and save a tonne of money!